Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fact Sheet On New Pumping Law

Department Of Labor Issues Fact Sheet On New Pumping Laws

We posted information back in March about the new Health Care Legislation. While there was much to be desired about the implementation of the new law, the one thing that it did do was to offer protection for breastfeeding moms at work. And just last week, the Department of Labor issued a fact sheet explaining exactly what this means. While many other blogs have already posted information about this which can be seen here and here (amongst others), we thought it was worthwhile to bring it up again and make sure that all of your pumping, working moms know that you are protected.

The law is summed up with the following excerpts from the fact sheet:

Employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

Yes, that’s right – your employer HAS TO provide you with a decent space to pump. So all of you moms who are pumping in your cars or in co-ed break rooms, it’s time to head to your boss or your HR department and ask for better accommodations!!

Another important point is:

Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother. The frequency of breaks needed to express milk as well as the duration of each break will likely vary.

The law recognizes that every mother is different – and while some can pump every 3-4 hours and be just fine – others (like me when I was pumping) need to pump every 2 hours to keep up with our baby’s schedule. The law recognizes and provides support for these differences between moms!!

And another important point is:

Employers are not required under the FLSA to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies.

So while your employer isn’t required to pay you for “extra” breaks – if you are using your already scheduled breaks to pump, then they are required to pay you just like they pay other employees for those breaks.

This is a HUGE step for nursing moms!! Many states do not provide specific legislation to protect moms who are pumping at work. So this new legislation will provide you with the protection that you need!! It also does not preempt state legislation that is already in effect, so if you are lucky enough to live in a state that offers even better benefits (protection beyond 1 year and paid pumping breaks) then those benefits still apply to you.

What do you think of the new law? How will this affect your ability to pump at work? Please share your stories by leaving a comment on this post.

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